Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Think Process Vs. Content in Client Meetings

If you have the best product and the lowest price and your boss will reward you for bringing in a lot of business trading on that, just make a ton of calls and a ton of money. Of course, when someone comes up with a better product, and he will, or another with a lower price, and he will, you'll have built zero equity with your customer base and probably a like amount of selling skill.

The true mark of a Samurai Seller, one who lives to serve others, is the patience, discipline and courage to forge a partnering relationship with the customer in which together they question every shibboleth with which the client is saddled. A great seller understands that his customer knows a great deal about his or her business, but not nearly as much as he or she doesn't know about it. (Look, the smartest person in the world knows a thimble full of what there is to know, all in).

So, you get the visit and you've been taught to start with the "tell me," and you do. The remarkable seller doesn't. He or she starts the meeting with, "Mr. Jones, as I mentioned when I asked for this meeting, my intitial research tells me that my company and I can help you. The purpose of this meeting is to work together to examine all of your learnings through your experience and what they suggest for growing your business. I want to set that table by promising you that I will likely challenge some of your assumptions; not to change your mind, but to persuade you to work with me to see what may be missing or improved upon. Okay?"

And so you begin. You ask about the competitive landscape, the resources of he and his competitors, their respective market shares, the quality and pricing of his goods (services) versus others, the rung he stands on in the brand recognition ladder, his growth curve, his margin, etc.

And periodically you ask, "how do you know that?". You do so rather than suggesting he's "wrong about that." The great seller doesn't set up an intellectual or power of persuasion battleground on which he and his client can duke it out. Clearly the client will win that war and in so doing, both will lose.

No, you (a great seller in the making) help the client go to war with himself, by getting him to question whether or not the paths he has taken ankd intends to take going forward, have been chosen as a result clear thinking research and analysis, or lazy living. So you encourage the client to examine his thinking by encouraging him to examine the content he places on the table.

You push the process while he debates his content.

I'm happy to answer your questions.

Great Selling!

Love Your Work and Work Tirelessly
Communicate Honestly and Fearlessly
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Serve, Don't Sell

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